What Do Those Laundry Symbols on your Clothes Label Really Mean?

Laundry labels that you find stitched into your clothes are supposed to be helpful guides for the cleaning and care of your garment, but in reality, trying to decipher the symbols on the label can end up making your head spin!

If you have ever wondered what all those different symbols mean, then read on as we explain their meaning and why you should pay attention to them if you want to preserve your clothes and help them to remain looking good and feeling comfortable for longer.

Dry-clean only symbol

If you see a small circle on your garment label, this means you should dry clean only to preserve the quality and integrity of the fabric. However, if you see a circle with a letter in the centre, this is to help your dry cleaner to identify which dry cleaning agent to use.

You may see bars underneath the circle and this denotes the level of precaution that your dry cleaner must take when cleaning your garment. When you see a circle with a cross over it, this means the garment isn’t suitable for dry cleaning.

If your care label has faded so you can no longer see any symbols, or the label has been removed entirely, you can bring your garment into us and our expert team will be able to identify the fabric your garment is made from and will be able to advise you about its proper care and cleaning.

Ironing symbol

If you see an iron symbol on your label it will mean you can iron it. The number of dots the iron symbol has will indicate what temperature setting you can use, so if there are no dots this means it can be ironed at any temperature. This is what the number of dots means:

1 dot: delicates i.e, silk and wool

2 dots: synthetics

3 dots: linen and cotton

If you see an iron symbol with a cross over it, this means you shouldn’t iron it. Whether you love ironing or not, you can save yourself a lot of time and guesswork by letting American Dry Cleaning take care of your laundry and pressing for you.

Drying symbol

A circle inside of a square denotes tumble drying. As with the ironing symbol, use the dots to indicate the most suitable drying temperature:

1 dot = low temperature

2 dots = medium temperature

3 dots = high temperature

If you see that the tumble dry symbol has a cross over it, this means you shouldn’t tumble dry the garment. Doing so may cause the garment to shrink or stretch out of shape.

Hand washing symbol

The handwashing symbol is a tub shape with a hand. This means that your garment can be hand washed or will be OK in a delicate wash cycle of  40°C/104°F, or lower. Handwashing can help prevent more delicate items from shrinking or snagging.

A twisted symbol means you can wring out your garment, but if the twisted symbol has a cross over it, then don’t wring out your hand-washed clothes.

Synthetic symbol

This tub symbol means that your garment is fine to be put in a washing machine. The tub symbol will usually have a number on it that will tell you what temperature it can be washed at. Again, use the bar number under the tub symbol to guide you about rinsing and spin cycles.

No bar: The item can be spun and rinsed as normal.

1 bar: Spin speed should be reduced.

2 bars: Mild wash but can be spun and rinsed as normal

If there is a cross over the tub symbol you should not wash the item in a washing machine.

Of course, you can save yourself a lot of time, effort and guesswork by letting our dedicated laundry specialists take care of your laundry and dry cleaning for you. We can even collect, clean and deliver your laundry back to you, freshly washed and smelling fabulous.